Typically schools and school districts across the country have pretty tight budgets. Now add to the equation a poor economy and many districts are facing a serious budget crisis. Many school districts now are being forced to adapt and become creative when it comes to IT support. Cash strapped schools are turning to tech savvy students as a source of IT support in individual buildings.
Using students for IT support is the current trend in education that I have chosen to write about today. A good article to support this trend comes from The Journal. In their February magazine The Journal’s cover story was titled “How Geek become Chic” in which John K. Waters writes about school districts that are using students as IT support.
There is never enough tech support in districts or schools. Using students as tech support helps solve this problem. Not only are teachers and other school staff receiving better support students who serve on these teams are benefiting as well. These students are gaining real world job experience, they are becoming leaders, and they are also taking ownership in their school.
Of course there are some draw backs to this type of IT support. Mainly, students serve in this role are given a lot of power and privilege. I could see how some people in schools would cringe at the thought of students having the ability to log in and access every computer in the school. However, let’s remember that one of the advantages of this type of IT program is that leaders are being developed, and of course there should be an application process to become part of the IT team.
Several examples were mentioned in the article about schools and states that have adopted students into their IT support. One of these states is Mississippi. In Mississippi the state has sponsored a program called Challenging Regional Educators to Advance Technology (CREATE). In Colorado, Legend High School in Douglas County opened its doors this year with the goal to use students to help with IT support as well.
Advantages and disadvantages put aside I think this is a trend worth watching especially if schools continue to face budget shortfalls.